Kitchen features that add value to your home – and the ones that don't

Real estate experts name the top kitchen updates that will add to resale value, and the ones you should avoid

Kitchen features that add value
(Image credit: Salvesen Graham / Sola Kitchens)

The kitchen features that add value to your home in 2022 are well worth checking out if you're planning on selling soon. While most homeowners know that an updated kitchen always adds value to a home, there is so much information out there on what to focus on that it can seem as though you have to update every single feature in your kitchen. 

This isn't so – being strategic about updating the elements of a kitchen that buyers care most about right now will yield the best return on your investment. We've asked experienced real estate agents and house flipping experts to name the kitchen ideas that are a must to maximize your home's resale value. 

1. Add on a separate dine-in area to your kitchen

Kitchen diner with table, chairs and storage cabinets

(Image credit: Future)

Several of our real estate professionals point out that the pandemic has changed what buyers now expect from kitchens. The big appeal is for the kitchen and cook to be part of the action when entertaining and, on a day to day basis, for the whole family to be together – in this time-pressed age, it’s a real boon to be able to offer help with homework while preparing the evening meal; and to be able to keep on eye on children while managing other tasks. 

Emily Waldmann, a Realtor with DEN Property Group in Austin, Texas, one of the hottest markets in the country right now, said: Buyers are interested in kitchens that are highly functional after Covid, and are drawn to homes with some separation between the kitchen and living areas, while still keeping it easy to move between both spaces. We are seeing a draw towards dine-in kitchen island ideas, and interesting or statement light fixtures above an island.'

Ellen Schwartz, a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker with Compass, who works with buyers and sellers across Westchester County in New York and Fairfield County in Connecticut, seconds Emily's view: 'Large kitchen-diner ideas, as well as adding a great room onto the kitchen, are in great demand.'

2. Go big – and double up on appliances and fixtures

yellow room with pink and yellow pantry

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

High-end appliances are always in high demand by buyers, and, if anything, the Covid era of using the kitchen daily has made them want bigger and better appliances and fixtures – and, preferably, double the number. 

Think of a 'his and hers' arrangement, but in the kitchen. Ellen says that 'the “items” that immediately add kitchen value and buyer appeal are high-end appliances, such as name brands including Wolf, Sub-Zero and Silver Star.' 

The trick to making the kitchen appear even more valuable is installing 'farm sinks, two dishwashers, electric and gas ranges for those who cook and bake, side by side refrigerators, and high-end microwaves that are out of the way.' 

Basically, the easier it is for two or more people to use the kitchen without having to line up to open the fridge/load the dishwasher, the better. 

And if you really. want to impressive a potential buyer, go large on pantry ideas, says Ellen: 'The biggest must is a super large pantry as it is almost akin to a walk-in closet!'

3. Introduce a quartz countertop for true luxury and durability 

Kitchen countertop ideas with composite

(Image credit: Future / Nicholas Yarsley)

Luxury kitchen countertop ideas are an old favorite for buyers of high-end homes, but are becoming much more mainstream lately. Tyler Forte, Co-Founder & CEO of Felix Homes, a company striving to create a financially responsible way to buy or sell a home, names a quartz countertop as his preferred value-adding feature in a kitchen: 'Quartz is low maintenance since it’s non-porous and is highly resistant to staining. It’s also one of the strongest countertop materials, so it’s extremely durable. Quartz also matches well with other materials and can improve the overall look and feel of your kitchen.'

Elizabeth Boese, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty out of Boulder, Colorado, also recommends quartz: 'Quartz countertops are all the rage right now, beating out granite and other solid surfaces.'

4. Create an open concept layout

Grey kitchen with open-plan dining area

(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

If you have any scope for changing the kitchen layout to an open-plan kitchen – go for it, without hesitation. Realty ONE Luxury Agent, Suzi Dailey, says: 'Invest in an open floor plan. This design trend allows family members to see each other without being in the ‘same’ room. The previous trend was to have two steps down into your family room, but now people want one large level.   

The big appeal of going open-plan is for the kitchen and cook to be part of the action when entertaining and, on a day to day basis, for the whole family to be together – in this time-pressed age, it’s a real boon to be able to offer help with homework while preparing the evening meal.

Betsy Ronel, a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with Compass in Westchester County, New York, agrees: 'Open a wall, if you can, to embrace the room adjoining the kitchen to make a family kitchen eating area, which is very popular amongst buyers these days.'

5. Invest in the best appliances

Chef's kitchen ideas with luxury appliances

(Image credit: Franke)

If your kitchen has outdated appliances, you'll definitely need to replace these prior to selling – and real estate experts insist that you mustn't scrimp on the quality. The golden rule, according  to Betsy Ronel, is to choose the very best appliances to the price range of your home. 'Appliances should be high end, as again, the more high-tech the kitchen, the more likely the house will sell. 

If houses in your neighborhood trade for under $600,000, then consider purchasing from brands, such as KitchenAid and GE. If they trade $750,000 and above, then you need to considering investing in luxury appliances, such as Sub-Zero, Wolf, Viking, Gagneau.'

There is simply no way high-end appliances will scare away buyers, and Betsy stresses the importance of not going cheap in this area: 'The higher the home price point, the higher level the appliances should be. The one piece of advice I stress to all sellers: spend as much as you can afford when designing a kitchen. Kitchens sell homes!'

The kitchen features that don't add value

All that glitters is not gold when it comes to updating your kitchen for resale, – and tiled kitchen backsplash ideas are the fancy feature our real estate experts do not recommend. 

Jeff Shipwash, owner of Shipwash Properties LLC, said: 'Tile backsplashes are expensive and rarely add enough value to produce a great ROI on your investment.'

Emily Waldmann agrees: 'Statement hoods and backsplashes are highly subjective, so if getting ready to sell, I would avoid adding anything super specific in either of those arenas.'

Also, avoid spending too much on a brand-new built-in coffee machine – they date almost instantly. Ellen Schwartz concludes: 'I think it’s not worth installing espresso makers as their technology changes so much, akin to installing televisions.' 

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.

With contributions from